March 3, 2003
Last week's trip was the first time that I had been to Arizona, so I was a little bit excited. I heard that the weather is really hot during the summer and much of the area is just like a desert. And, of course, the Grand Canyon is there. That was all my knowledge about the place.
At first we arrived in Phoenix, and went straight to practice in a high school gym, which was really huge, and very impressive. At the beginning of our practice, a fire alarm went off, and we almost had severe hearing problems because it was so loud. So we moved to a different gym, where we could avoid the noise and conduct the practice. After practice, we went to dinner and straight to the hotel. My roommate was Alisa Lewis , and we fell asleep very fast because we were so tired from travelling.
The next morning I had to get up earlier than most of the team because I had to take an exam with three teammates at the Arizona State Athletic Department. You know, if you are on the road you can still take your tests, because there are proctors who watch and make sure that you use only the allotted amount of time and that you're not cheating. So I took the test, and then we had shoot around for an hour.
After our pregame meal, we went back to the hotel for a short nap and were ready to play Arizona State. They were on a three-game losing streak, all played on the road, and now they were at home and wanted to prove that they were not that bad as they may have seemed. Both teams started very slowly We missed many of our shots and never really got into a rhythm. Unfortunately I got in foul trouble so I was on the bench for most of the first half. The only person who played particularly well was Kiki Williams, who had turned 21 just one day earlier, and boy, I'm telling you, she was hot! She even made a three-pointer from three feet behind the line. Everybody on the bench said, "Oh, no!" But when she made it we jumped up and down yelling, "Oh, yes!!!" Ultimately, we lost the battle, but we never gave up, even though our shots weren't falling.
The next morning we had a pool workout, which was very relaxing to our tired muscles. Then we had breakfast and got on the bus to go to Tucson, where we would play against Arizona. On the road I saw giant cacti, and the houses looked like those built in Mexican style. We practiced in the afternoon and then got ready to go to visit some of Jacqueline Sanchez's family friends. They were Native Americans and showed us their building complex and talked about how their community works. It touched me deeply how much they care about their people and don't leave them in need. They offer education, jobs, land and medical help for all members of their tribe. They even invited us to have dinner in one of their casinos. Wow…a real casino with all the games and slot machines. The biggest prize of the day was $10,000. Lots of money for a little student-athlete who lives on $150 after paying her rent. Unfortunately we didn't have much time to spend there because we had to go back to the hotel for study hall. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the hotel in Tucson was the most beautiful that I've ever stayed in. It had little fountains in the lobby and lots of green plants. It was wonderful.
After breakfast, we headed to the game. Arizona is a good team; they beat us by 30 points earlier this year when we played them at home. I think this time they were sure that they could beat us easily, but we didn't give them the game without a fight. The first half was very close, we played really well. I'm sure they were surprised because they probably didn't expect that much effort and fight from us. In the second half, they shot much better than us, so they won the game, and went on to celebrate their seniors afterward.
We had Sunday and Monday off to get ready for the big challenge that we have worked for the entire season, the Pac-10 Tournament, which begins Friday. Of course, the seedings are important, but if you win, you get an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Our first game will be against Arizona State and I think we have a great chance to win that game, because we played so horribly against them last week, but were still battling to the bitter end. And this time it will be like playing on our court, because San Jose is only a one-hour drive! Fans, we would be grateful if you would come and cheer for us!
Thank you and see you at the tournament!